Getting caught in the rain in Ghana is like standing under the Niagara Falls. Well, maybe not quite, but it certainly seemed that way when visiting Nandom district hospital in the Upper West Region. At one point Emma and I found ourselves jumping across a small stream that had formed a moat around the health clinic. And by jumping across, I mean jumping into it, sinking into red clay, and almost losing our shoes. But it seems that as foreigners we are just simply not adapted to the Ghanaian rain. As Emma and I walked through the corridors of the hospital, shielding ourselves from the wind and water, Dr. Robert called over his shoulder to us; “Hey!” he said conversationally, “rain is coming down a little, eh?”
During this torrential downpour, we had an amazing tour of the hospital. Emma had been there twice before, but even though it was my first visit I could already see how much Dr. Robert’s patients respect him. He took the time to ask patients how they were feeling; he stopped to greet people in the hallways and walkways, even when the rain crept in sideways under the awning. It was also a great personal experience for me to finally meet Dr. Robert because I had read about his work on the MedPLUS blog (one of Emma’s old posts) long before I became involved with the organization.
Dr. Robert explained to us how new districts were being created – meaning that Nandom was also hoping to turn health centers into hospitals to serve these new districts. Dr. Robert did a fantastic job of distributing extra supplies (which they already had at Nandom) to these in-need health centers of the district. Some of these health centers didn’t even have a single IV pole, surgical scissors, or BP monitors. Because of this, patients don’t come to the health centers, and consequently crowd the hospitals. The district hospital already sees a ton of patients, especially because of the influx from Burkina Faso. Thus supporting these health centers and helping them become self-sustainable would have a great impact on the area.